Erik ten Hag highlights Man Utd ‘challenge’ in push to ‘raise the bar’

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Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, is calling for the club to continue progressing after overseeing significant improvements during his first year in charge. When he took over last summer, the club was in disarray and lacked coherency and quality, resulting in a disappointing 2021-22 season. However, Ten Hag introduced a new style and demanding standards, effectively handling Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, and ultimately led the team to win the Carabao Cup. They also finished third in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final.

Reflecting on his first year at the helm, Ten Hag acknowledged the immense improvements that were necessary but emphasized that there is still work to be done. He noted that English football is evolving, with the league becoming stronger with each passing year. He highlighted the attraction of top players and managers to the Premier League and expressed his excitement for the challenges ahead in the upcoming season.

As United prepares for the new season, they have made several signings, including Mason Mount from Chelsea and Andre Onana from Inter Milan. Additionally, they are close to signing Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta. Ten Hag remained tight-lipped about potential new signings, stating that it is important to let the professionals handle the negotiations.

The influx of new players would push United’s summer spending to £162.8m, or potentially £179.2m if contract clauses are met. However, some fans have concerns about the club’s ownership under the Glazers, as there have been ongoing talks of a potential takeover. Ten Hag, however, stated that his focus is solely on improving the team and that discussions about the ownership situation should be left to others within the club.

During the team’s US tour, Ten Hag faced questions about Mason Greenwood, who has been suspended since January 2022. The manager stated that he had addressed the topic during their time in New York and emphasized that he didn’t need to answer the same question repeatedly.

Another significant topic in New York was the captaincy, as Ten Hag had recently stripped Harry Maguire of the armband and given it to Bruno Fernandes. The manager dismissed the suggestion that Maguire’s situation would mirror Ronaldo’s dominance from last season, emphasizing that United is focused on building a project and winning trophies.

Ten Hag emphasized the importance of consistency across the team and expects players to continue improving. He stated that it is not just about his preferred squad, but rather the demands of top football and the need to elevate the performance levels of individuals.

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